In fiction, you will see the most nastiest villain of the series who is outright evil and unbelievably mean often to the point of coming across as Complete Monster
. Then, he gets defeated by the protagonist
and the rest of his crew members
. What happens next? He had a change of heart
. He became repentant of all the crimes he has committed. And is now is a newest member
of the heroes. This is a simple story of a baddie gone good
Often at times, this doesn't usually has to be the case. When it comes to this trope, a character can go from evil to good and still retain their unpleasant characteristics they had as a villain. There are plenty of reasons for why his behavior is still the same despite changing the alignment. One, the reformed character may still have issues with one or more of the members of the group
(particularly The Hero
). Two, he is still hung on the ways of a villain and he was sour grapes on how he has changed his ways. Three, he may be just naturally mean due to the abuse of his parents or being picked on by children when he was younger
. When it comes to this trope, turning over a new leaf is more complex than people wouldn't want it to be.
Here are the tropes which involve a character changing his alignment, but not his personality:
Very common in a setting of Black and Grey Morality
. This is how an Anti-Hero
undergoes this development. For that, see Analysis.Anti Hero
. This type of character is more likely to become The Hero
. This can often invoke the thought that Humans Are Flawed
. Not to be confused with Reformed, but Rejected
where a character turns for the better, but others don't acknowledge it.
Regarding to the whole morality thing, No Real Life Examples, Please!
Anime & Manga
- Vegeta from Dragonball Z pulled a partial Heel-Face Turn, but this was because he wanted to be the one to defeat Goku, in which he went as far as to temporarily turn heel to do so. At the end of the Buu Saga, he pulls a genuine Heel-Face Turn by reviving all of the people he has killed while he deliberately allowed himself to be hypnotized by Babidi's spell earlier as well as making peace with Goku. Even then, he still remains his gruff attitude.
- Piccolo is the same way. Even though Gohan was the reason he softened up and became a part of the good guys, he still remains aloof and distant toward the other fighters.
- Sakurako Sanjou from Hana Yori Dango is a Rich Bitch in Sheeps Clothing as well as very nasty when crossed. After her Heel-Face Turn, despite having a kinder disposition, she still remains spoiled and childish.
- Seto Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh! was a Faux Affably Evil Smug Snake. Even if he's undergone a Character Development and even if he's helped Yugi and his friends, he still remains a grumpy, arrogant, and insufferable Jerkass (and his heart of gold doesn't show that much unless if it involves his brother Mokuba). Also, he is still obsessed in defeating Yugi.
- Sesshoumaru started as a villain trying to kill his own half-brother InuYasha, but turned into his protector due to taking a young orphan girl under his wing. This doesn't mean he really enjoys showing kindness to others, even Inu Yasha.
- Much like the game's version, Shadow in Sonic X has pulled a Heel-Face Turn by sacrificing himself to save the world from the Space Colony ARK. In the Meterax saga, however, Shadow returns (with his memories erased), still the Perpetual Frowner, still cold and aloof around others, and still ruthless in his goals, even to the point of fighting Sonic and his friends if it's necessary.
- Exeter from Scion was as a menacing minor villain, but becomes the Big Guy of the main group who is less merciful than Ethan might like.
- Thugboy and Ninjette from Empowered started as Punch Clock Villains, but also thanks to the influence of the protagonist, they developed into Anti Heroes.
- Venom, who was a Spider-Man villain, became Anti-Venom, who tries to become The Atoner as well as graduating into a full-fledged Anti-Hero.
- Batman villainess Catwoman develops into an anti-heroine who often at times teams up with Batman in his missions. Let's not forget about their relationship status.
- Emma Frost from X-Men started as a villainess who is cold, aloof, arrogant, sociopathic, and likes to underdress. Even if she joins the team, nothing has changed about her attitude and behavior, although she seems to let her coldness melt a little.
- Deadpool debuted as a mercenary villain in New Mutants and in X-Force. After the events, he still a mercenary, but evolves into a Heroic Comedic Sociopath who only does good deeds not because it was the right thing to do, but because either he felt like it or for selfish motives.
- Accelerator in A Certain Magical Index killed ten-thousand teenaged girls, but transitions into The Atoner. He will do good to others, but he'll still behave like a utter jerk in doing so.
- In A Clockwork Orange, two of the Droogs become policemen after Alex is released from prison and proceed to abuse him when he encounters them.
- In C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, Edmund Pevensie is actually somewhat of an Anti-Hero, even after his Heel-Face Turn, because of his constant snarkiness, his death glares and his temptation to beat the crap out of his cousin Eustace. And he's almost always frowning or scowling.
- As described on Nightside, Razor Eddie, "Punk God of the Straight Razor", is a reformed - but not retired - Serial Killer, who now targets those who threaten children and the homeless. He's been known to leave buildings soaked in blood but conspicuously absent of corpses; the narration calls him "an extremely disturbing agent of good. The forces of good didn't get a say in the matter".
- Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer started off as a villain in season 2, but by season 3 (and a due to a dose of Badass Decay), he joined the Scoobies while still keeping his mean streak as a vampire.
- In Legend of the Seeker, Cara retains a strong vicious streak after her Heel-Face Turn. Understandable, considering that training Mord-Sith includes massive amounts of dog-kicking and cutie-breaking.
- Bialar Crais from Farscape was the Starter Villain for the first season chasing after the heroes until Scorpious came and take his place. While he underwent a Heel-Face Turn and backslid a couple of times, he never seem to lose his nasty streak.
- In Once Upon a Time, Regina is an example of a character who undergoes a realistic Heel-Face Turn. She is still depressed and bitter, and still holds a grudge against someone who is innocent, and not a lot of people trust her. But she stops her daily Kick the Dog and doesn't act on her Irrational Hatred, and despite never returning to her sweet, childlish pre-Face-Heel Turn persona, she shows that it's not quite gone.
- This is quite common in the professional wrestling world. A good number of wrestlers begun their careers as heels, but were so loved by the fans that they just have to turn face despite still behaving the same way they started. A noticeable example is "Stone Cold" Steve Austin during the rise of his popularity.
- Wrestlers who previously had a Face-Heel Turn, but then turned back into a face also qualify. The Rock started as a face, but wasn't well received. Then along came his heel turn and a lot of fans were behind him. He turned face after being kicked out of The Corporation, but still continues his backstage bullying and remains as one of the biggest trash-talkers in pro wrestling.
- Jin from BlazBlue: Continuum Shift pulls a Heel-Face Turn at the end of the game, but still remains one of the biggest jerks of the game.
- Joshua Graham from Fallout: New Vegas actually had a Heel-Faith Turn after becoming one of the most ruthless and cruel men in the Legion. Even though he now fights for a noble cause, he still retains his ferocity and Kill 'em All mentality.
- Protoman used to work for Dr. Wily and constantly fights against his brother Mega Man, but after being defeated, he soon turned from enemy big brother to Aloof Big Brother.
- Sagat from Street Fighter aligns himself with Shadaloo after succumbing a loss to Ryu in the first SF tournament. He realizes that his revenge-driven desire in defeating Ryu isn't the right path, so in Street Fighter Alpha, he reforms from his ways, but still retains a heated yet healthy rivalry with Ryu.
- Knuckles from Sonic the Hedgehog started off as a Hero Antagonist to Sonic, thinking he was out to steal the Chaos Emeralds. He graduates into a grudging, yet loyal friend to Sonic, and also a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Wario of the Super Mario Bros. started as an villain in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins and as a Villain Protagonist in Wario Land. After that, he isn't that villainous anymore, but still retains his lusty greed for money and is still a jerk because of it.
- The Star Wolf team in Star Fox started as a mercenaries and Evil Counterparts to The Star Fox team. They even worked for Andross in Star Fox 64 to take down Fox. In the later games, they graduate as Anti Heroes who will sometimes, and grudgingly, team up with Star Fox in their missions.